Susan Edwards has achieved the goal of hopeless romance at the very beginning. LandscapersThe premiere of a new crime drama series, “Blood,” is this week on HBO. Her husband is French and she lives with Christopher. There, she enjoys French cinema and antique shopping.
The series shows that Susan and Christopher have barely survived the four surreal and tense episodes. In truth, they are on the run and have been in some form of hiding since they killed and buried Susan’s parents, William and Patricia Wycherley, in 1998. They were arrested in December 1998. Landscapers opens, Susan is spending money they don’t have on signed photos of Gary Cooper, while Christopher, unable to secure work due to the language barrier, has a full breakdown. His stepmother calls him back from the U.K. asking for money. He then tells his mother shocking details: Susan and he buried her parents in their garden more than ten years ago. The stepmother calls the police, who exhume the bodies—and, naturally, have a lot of questions. As authorities seek the truth of what happened to Susan’s parents, the world the couple had built for themselves for more than a decade collapses.
LandscapersThe love story of the central couple in ‘The Secret Life of Olivia Colman and David Thewlis is both mysterious and heartwarming. It draws inspiration from chilling, sad, real life events. Here’s what to know about the true story that inspired the series.
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Here’s a brief history of Christopher and Susan Edwards
LandscapersThe video depicts a married couple who live a life of denial. The Guardian reports that the real-life Susan and Christopher Edwards tended to behave this way, too—after marriage, they lived in East London, where Susan stayed at home while Christopher worked as a credit control officer. Susan was a quiet person and spent her most time inside. “Their bank statements and credit card bills suggest she was absorbed in a fantasy universe. He had always been interested in military history and she became fixated by second world war leaders,” the newspaper wrote in 2014. “In the late ‘90s, they started buying stamps and autographs, and owning these bits of memorabilia became her passion.”
The fantasy Susan constructed may have been a way for her to deal with her life’s previous disappointments. The series depicts Susan’s relationship with her parents, William and Patricia Wycherley, as an unloving, abusive and secretive one cloaked in politesse. Patricia is an abusive mother and has a drinking problem. William speaks little but is a wild man when he does talk. The show shows that the relationship between Patricia and Susan is strained when Susan demands she hand over her inheritance from a grandparent to her parents. According to The Guardian, the relationship between daughter and parents was far from warm: “Her parents were the only people who had any entry into their world, and contact between the two couples was irregular and strained. Susan said in police interviews that her father had never approved of Christopher, and she thought he was jealous when they got married in 1983.”
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Motivation to commit murder
A life of obsession with movies and memorabilia, a fractured relationship with family, a husband who seems to act out of the utmost loyalty—all strange for sure. It all led to murder. While the Edwards tell one story, a police investigation uncovers another. The story was dramatized. Landscapers fuses the two, blurring the lines between Susan and Christpher’s reality and the actual world to attempt to explain their mindset. In real life, according to the police investigation, the Edwards’ motivation to murder the Wyncherleys came down to money.
The Wyncherleys were shot to death at their home in May 1998, according to forensic analysis. The following business day, Susan emptied her parents’ bank account, according to The Guardian. Over the next decade, the Edwards did everything to keep up the appearance that the Wyncherleys were alive—they maintained their property, kept up with bills and Susan sent Christmas cards and letters on her parents’ behalf to give relatives “updates.” They also kept in touch with the Department of Work and Pensions so they could continue receiving the Wyncherleys’ pension payments, the BBC Reports. After a driver had crashed his car into their property in 2005, Edwards sold the vehicle by forging signatures and continuing to lie. The delicate system worked—until it didn’t.
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They managed to get away with this for so many years.
The Edwardses concocted a ruse that claimed the Wyncherleys had died, which worked until 2012. Friends and neighbors who were suspicious of the Wyncherleys’ absence from public view brushed their suspicion aside, noting that they had always been quite private. The beginning of the end came around William Wyncherley’s 100th birthday, when the Department for Work and Pensions wrote requesting an in-person meeting to go over his benefits. Panicked Susan and Christopher fled to France with the money stolen from their parents.
The miniseries ends with Christopher calling his stepmother, which actually happened, and bodies being found by police, who then search for them. They reappear in the U.K. following an email from Christopher to the police promising in “extremely polite” terms that the couple would give themselves up.
How police got to the bottom of Susan and Christopher’s story
Landscapers shows that as film obsessives, the Edwardses—Susan especially—view life in movie terms. You can find great heroes that save the day or deep betrayals from villains. The endings of stories are happy and sad. A miserable, self-described “broken” person, Susan depends on this way of thinking to get through each day. Christopher and Susan convince themselves they are the heros in the story about what happened to their parents.
Susan and Christopher both admit that they were guilty of manslaughter in their meticulously rehearsed accounts. They claim that Susan went alone to visit her parents when Patricia killed William in a late-night altercation. Susan said that Patricia then began taunting her—among other things, she alleged that her father had sexually abused her when she was a child and that Patricia admitted she had known about it—and provoked her into shooting her mother. According to Susan, Christopher discovered the truth about their relationship the week after they had returned to the house. They said that they watched Eurovision together and she ate chips with fish. Then, she told him. They said that they had buried their bodies together in the garden the night before.
Through forensic investigation and analysis, police quickly discovered their lies. Per The GuardianInvestigators discovered that each Wycherley was shot in the same way. This suggests only one person killed them. The second hole is how could they have spent their time watching television without Christopher not smelling the bodies decomposing? When Christopher revealed that he was a member of a gun club, and has experience using firearms, doubts about their story were deepened.
The police eventually determined that Christopher Wycherley and Susan had committed double murder. The couple were found to have stolen nearly $400,000 from her parents after they were killed, and they spent the bulk of that money on war and Hollywood memorabilia—which was pretty much all they had left upon their arrest and imprisonment. Both were convicted and sentenced in 2014 to life imprisonment, with at least 25 years. They are still in prison today.